The age-old rule is that you should drink 8 glasses (8 fluid ounces each) of water daily. Now, be honest, do you always hit that mark? Do you ever hit that mark? Do you even manage to drink 8 glasses of any liquid a day? With the busy lives that we lead, it's often hard to do. To complicate things further, more recent recommendations are drinking 1 ounce per every pound you weigh daily. So if you weight 140 pounds, thats 140 fluid ounces (over 17 glasses of fluid!). Then factor in the more exercise you get and the more caffeinated or alcoholic beverages you consume, you should be adding even more fluids to replace what's lost through sweat, increased urination, and dehydrating factors.
Taking all of that into account, you can see how easy it would be to become dehydrated. Dehydration can seem minor but if prolonged it can lead to neurological, renal, hepatic, and cardiac issues. IV hydration should never replace drinking fluids, but it can be a good way to address dehydration on an infrequent basis. The benefit of IV hydration is that the fluid goes straight into the bloodstream and more directly to your vital organs than it would when consumed orally.
IV hydration can be beneficial after (or during) an illness that caused lack of oral intake (food or fluids), vomiting, or diarrhea. One can become dehydrated and develop electrolyte imbalances through all three of the above mentioned symptoms. Replacement of fluid volume and electrolytes through an IV can not only improve symptoms but could also decrease the chance of more serious complications later on. This can extend to hangovers and elevation sickness as well.
The administration of certain vitamins, medications, and electrolytes to achieve other effects can also be done through an IV as well. Magnesium and Toradol can improve muscle aches and promote relaxation. B12, B-Complex, and Taurine can boost energy levels. Vitamin C and Zinc strengthen immune system function. Biotin can support skin, hair, and nail health.
What I tell all of my patient's who come in for IV hydration is that the treatment may make them feel good temporarily but if there is a serious underlying issue, this is not the cure. It is incredibly important to see your primary care provider regularly and let them know whats going on with you. If you come in complaining about persistent fatigue, what I'll tell you is that a B12 shot may help you for a limited amount of time but won't fix the reason that you are actually tired. Even if you have a B12 deficiency, coming to get a B12 shot or IV every few weeks is not going to adequately address the issue and you should be having lab work drawn regularly to assess response to interventions.
There are also many places that will advertise that getting immune boosting IV drips at their facilities can "prevent cancer" or "make you COVID immune." These are false claims (and irresponsible advertising tactics). There are things you can do to try to stay healthy, but there is no treatment that will make you indestructible. The same goes for IV formulations.
To sum this all up, there are many advantages to IV hydration. However, people shouldn't rely on them or assume that they are treatments for serious illnesses. It is still important to drink fluids and go to the doctor. But getting an IV hydration treatment is a great way to enhance how you are feeling, improve energy, promote relaxation and muscle relief, support healthy cell growth, and combat and recover from minor illnesses.